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European StoriesIntellectual Debates on Europe in National Contexts$
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Justine Lacroix and Kalypso Nicolaïdis

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780199594627

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199594627.001.0001

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Convergence and Resistance

Convergence and Resistance

The European Dilemma of Turkish Intellectuals

(p.294) 15 Convergence and Resistance
European Stories

Nora Fisher Onar

Ahmet Evin

Oxford University Press

Nora Fisher Onar and Ahmet Evin trace continuity and changes in several schools of thought on Europe from the inception of Ottoman Westernization to the present. They then turn to key moments in the 1999 to 2009 period during which debates on Turkey's place in Europe were particularly intense in light of acquisition of EU candidate status in 1999 and the ensuing accession debate over Islam and secularism. Fisher Onar and Evin argue that certain features of Turkish discourse are constant both over time and across the political spectrum at any given time. These include a tendency to see the “European experience” as a menu à la carte, and a sense of Turkish exceptionalism. Other aspects of intellectuals' engagement of Europe, however, appear contingent upon evolving domestic and international contexts. Views thus span from those who advocate a selective engagement to those who call for unequivocal convergence with that which they understand Europe to represent.

Keywords:   Ottoman Westernization, candidate status, exceptionalism, Islam, secularism

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